“What You Said” report: CRTC Early Engagement Sessions
Phase one of the co-development of a new Indigenous Broadcasting Policy
- Special Thanks
- Obtain input on how to consult and identify needs
- Conduct in-person consultations
- Recognize and seek input from distinct Nations and their respective communities
- Recognize Indigenous Broadcasting History, Language and Cultural Protocols
- Methods of Outreach
- Compensation for participants
- Communication about the process
- Reporting on the new policy
- Database of key contacts
- What is working well?
- Support for Indigenous community radio broadcasters
- Audio Content Creators
- Support for Indigenous Artists as Storytellers
- Support for Indigenous Spoken-Word Content Creators
- Support for programming that offers opportunities for mental health and well-being
- Working with Youth
- Spaces for training and production
- Establish an Association to represent Indigenous Broadcasters
- Create databases
- Create archives
- CBC’s role, and working with CBC
- Communities with their own broadcasting policies, infrastructures, funding
- Improve the Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting (NAB) fund
- Establish an Indigenous Content Development contribution mechanism
- Ensure funding through Tangible Benefits
- Create a database of funding sources
- Provide financial support for languages and culture
- Provide funding and other support from Provinces and Territories
- Level the funding playing field
- CRTC and the new Indigenous broadcasting policy
- Adam Garnet Jones
- Alan Greyeyes
- Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
- Amy Jacobs
- Angela Gerbrandt
- Anong Beam
- April Maloney
- Arlene Ikkusek
- Ashley Bieniarz
- Banchi Hanuse
- Beatrice Deer
- Belinda Webb
- Benjamin Kunuk
- Bert Crowfoot
- Bill Polonsky
- Bonnie Lyall
- Brandi Vezina
- Brian Moon
- Brittany Leborgne
- Charlene Moore
- Claude Grenier
- Corinne Dunphy
- Cort Gallup
- Dallas Arcand
- Dan David
- Danielle Audette
- Darcy Smith
- David McLeod
- Debbie Brisebois
- Deborah Charles
- Deborah Osborne
- Debra Buffalo-Makinaw
- Delores Smith
- Dennis Racette
- Derek Squirrel
- Derwin Swampy
- Dez Loreen
- Doreen Manuel
- Edward Georgekish
- Eric Faithful
- Erik Masuskapoe
- Felix Quinney
- Francine Allaire
- Gavin Tucker
- George Marshall
- Graham Marshall
- Guylaine St Onge
- Hank White
- Helene O’Bomsawin
- Ila Barker
- Java James Jacobs
- Jamie Natannah
- Jared Big Canoe
- Jarrett Martineau
- Jean LaRose
- Jeff Bear
- Jenna Kamingoak
- Jeremy Harpe
- Jesse Wente
- Jill Samson
- Jim Compton
- Joe Blyan
- Joelle Robillard
- John Mameanskum
- Jordan Waunch
- Judy Gingell
- Judy Vollant
- Julie Grenier
- Julie O’Bomsawin
- Justin Holness
- Keith Seaboyer
- Kelly Fraser
- Kerr Moraes-Sugiyama
- Kerry Swanson
- Kim Logan
- Kristiana Clemens
- Kristy Assu
- Lisa Meeches
- Lorraine Lalo
- Magnus Mousseau
- Malaya Qaunirq Chapman
- Marsha Knight
- Massey Whiteknife
- Mickey Quase
- Mise’l Abram
- Morris Prokop
- Nathaniel Lyman
- Neil Christopher
- Patrick Periard
- Paul Fitzpatrick
- Randall Moonias
- Rebeka Herron
- Réjean Nequado
- Rob Ouelette
- Robert Ward Jr.
- Robert Wood
- Robyn Campbell
- Ross Learn
- Ruben Bunn
- Rylan Friday
- Samuel Cohn-Cousineau
- Sandy Maloney
- Sasha McArthur
- Savvy Simon
- Scott Forward
- Scott Maynard
- Sean Beaver
- Shane Blyan
- Sherri Staats
- Shirley McLean
- Stacey Aglok
- Stuart Desnomie
- Susan Swan
- Tania Koenig-Gauchier
- Teena Kakee
- Tim Schutz
- Tricia Toso
- Tyler Hogan
- Victoria Juenig
- Walter G. Hester
- Wen hu Chen
- Zacharias Kunuk
A special thank you goes out to the Elders/Knowledge Keepers who provided opening prayers and guidance at the sessions:
- Elder Ann Smith
- Elder Curtis Ahenakew
- Elder Daniel Secord
- Elder Debbie Eisin
- Elder Diane Smoke
- Elder Marina James
- Elder Mary Ekho Wilman
- Elder Minni Matoush
- Elder Otsi’tsaken:ra (Charles Patton)
- Elder Robert Cardinal
Thank you to the organizations who hosted sessions at their site:
- Frobisher Inn Iqaluit
- Host Hotel Kahnawake
- ImagineNATIVE Film Festival
- Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre
- Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
- River Cree Resort
- Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre
Thank you to the Facilitators who helped guide this process:
- Andrew Carrier- Metis Nation of Manitoba
- Angie Perkins- Happy Valley Goose Bay, NL
- Barry Indian- Onigaming First Nation, ON
- Danielle Saddleman- Okanagan Indian Band, BC
- Jenelle Duval- Qalipu First Nation, NL
- Leona McIntyre- Metis Nation of Manitoba
- Michael Denny- Eskasoni Mi’Kmaw Nation, NS
- Mona Burors- Metis Nation of Manitoba
- Susan Swan- Lake Manitoba First Nation, MB
We would like to make special mention of the enthusiastic participation, impassioned comments and heartfelt suggestions provided by Ms. Kelly Fraser during the Engagement Session in Winnipeg on June 24 and 25, 2019 – and also of her impromptu musical performance that she so generously shared with us at one point during that session. Originally from Nunavut, Kelly was an Inuk singer-songwriter whose career blossomed in 2013, when her Inuktitut cover of Rihanna's song, Diamonds, went viral. Her second album, Sedna, was nominated for a Juno Award for best Indigenous music album in 2018. She won an Indspire Award in 2019 for using her music to strengthen and promote Inuit culture and language. She was extremely popular with Indigenous youth and was well-known as an advocate for Inuit communities, promoting their rights and speaking out against the harms of colonization and Indigenous stereotyping. Sadly, Kelly died on December 24, 2019, at the age of 26. She was a “diamond” we will never forget.
In June 2019, the CRTC launched a three-phase processFootnote 1 to co-develop a new Indigenous broadcasting policy with First Nations, Métis and Inuit broadcasters, content creators and audiences. Through this process, the goal is to modernize the existing regulatory frameworkFootnote 2 so that the Canadian broadcasting system can better support the needs of Indigenous Peoples, now and in the future.
The CRTC has recognized that Indigenous broadcasters and content creators are best qualified to determine and meet the needs of their audiences. Accordingly, as part of this process, the CRTC is seeking their views on what should be considered in a new Indigenous Broadcasting Policy.
The process is comprised of three phases:
- Phase One: Starting in the summer 2019, early engagement sessions were held across Canada, with Indigenous broadcasters, content creators and artists. The Commission gathered different perspectives and experiences from these Indigenous Peoples to understand what their current and future needs are for traditional and digital services within the Canadian broadcasting system, and to determine the specific issues to be addressed in the new policy.
- Phase Two: Based mainly on the information obtained in the early engagement sessions, the Commission will publish a notice of consultation to obtain further comments from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people on how Canada’s broadcasting system can best complement the broadcasting interests of Indigenous Peoples moving forward.
- Phase Three: Following the public consultation, the Commission will present its preliminary views to Indigenous participants to give them the opportunity to provide further comments on the potential impacts of the proposed policy.
A total of twelve Engagement Sessions were held across Canada over a seven-month period from June 2019 to February 2020. The sessions were facilitated through the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute (ILDII) with a team of Indigenous hosts and facilitators. The sessions were held in East, in the West, and in the North, and included First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who play a role in the Indigenous broadcasting and content creation industries in Canada, including Indigenous radio and television broadcasters, audio and audio-visual producers, musicians, and others who support these groups. ILDII reached out to as many people in the sector as they could identify, locate and contact, to attend a session near them. Appropriate financial compensation as per Treasury Board of Canada travel policy was provided for travel costs if required. A list of participants is included at the beginning of this report. Those who were unable to attend the in-person sessions or the teleconferences were invited to submit their feedback through written comments and submissions.
Sessions were held in the following regions:
- Quebec- Gatineau
- Quebec- Kahnawake
- Ontario- Toronto
- Nova Scotia
- British Columbia
Three teleconferences were held to accommodate Eastern and Western time zones.
A discussion guide was created and was provided to all attendees. A series of four questions were asked.
- How would you like to participate in the co-development of a new Indigenous Broadcasting Policy? How would you like to be consulted?
- How can you (or your organization) be successful in the Indigenous broadcasting industry?
- What do Indigenous broadcasters (i.e., radio, television, and online broadcasting services) need to succeed, both within Canada and to promote their services abroad?
- What do Indigenous content creators (i.e., creators of music, news, film, television programming and any other audio or audio-visual programming created for traditional or online broadcast) need in order to succeed in Canada and abroad?
- How can broadcasters (both traditional radio and television, and online broadcasting services) enable spoken-word, musical and performing artists to be successful in Canada and abroad?
- In your view, to what extent is the broadcasting system in Canada serving the needs and interests of Indigenous Peoples (in particular, through programming and employment opportunities in this sector)?
- What are the challenges in providing these needs?
- How can this be addressed?
- What is working well? What improvements could be made to the broadcasting system in Canada to provide programming that reflects the cultures and languages of Indigenous Peoples?
- What is needed to better reflect the cultures and languages of Indigenous Peoples in this programming?
- What are the challenges in reflecting the cultures and languages of Indigenous Peoples in programming content? What is working (what are the success stories)?
- How might the challenges be addressed?
Participants responded to these questions, though not always in this order; in effect, the questions acted as a starting point for sharing perspectives and views.
Please note that this report reflects diverse viewpoints; therefore, statements such as “attendees said” should not be read to indicate that all attendees at all sessions would necessarily agree with such statements. Also, as this is a “What We Heard” report, it is meant to reflect what was said; it was not the role of the CRTC to challenge or correct any statements or impressions.
What you told us / What was said
Obtain input on how to consult and identify needs
Conduct in-person consultations
Participants felt that it is extremely important for the co-development policy process to include in-person consultation with communities. During these consultations, the purpose of meeting with community members must be explained, and the overall process should be described, including how the information gathered will be shared and used. The consultation should provide an overview of standard CRTC policies to ensure everyone has a basic knowledge of the current regulatory framework first. Roundtable sessions similar to the way the Engagement Sessions were run are strongly advised, so that people can have their say but also have a chance to discuss their views with other participants and with the CRTC.
Recognize and seek input from distinct Nations and their respective communities
During the sessions, attendees expressed the importance of recognizing distinct groups amongst First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. They expressed concern over using a blanket strategy, since each Nation has its own individual needs; the policy should therefore stem from each group’s perspectives. Taking a pan-Indigenous approach can have the effect of alienating groups and dismissing valuable viewpoints.
Another approach that attendees suggested is to consult with traditional territories or to conduct a nation-by-nation consultation. This route might better reflect the inequity between different communities amongst First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. They noted the importance of considering that some sovereign communities do not recognize the CRTC, since it is a governmental organization of a different nation, and that Indigenous Peoples have a right to pave their own path.
“We need to tell our story to the rest of the world, as what we are saying is important.” - Participant
Recognize Indigenous Broadcasting History, Language and Cultural Protocols
History of Indigenous Broadcasting
Attendees noted that the history of Indigenous broadcasting must be acknowledged. They felt that a brief re-cap of the history would demonstrate how we arrived at the point we are at today, and this would provide some background and context. It should include how Indigenous broadcasting began, the importance of using broadcasting to help preserve Indigenous languages, and would also demonstrate how radio and television has evolved. It was noted that all history needs to be documented.
Based on past experiences, participants noted that the first rule of colonialism is to discredit or otherwise marginalize Indigenous institutions. This has occurred by establishing restrictive policies, ineffective government relations, excessive bureaucracy and creating situations where Indigenous views are not considered. This consultation is needed as it will provide a platform to allow Indigenous voices to be heard.
Use of Indigenous languages and respectful wording
Throughout the consultation process, and with the development of a new policy, attendees noted that the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples should be reflected. One of the ways to do that during this process is to recognize that many Indigenous languages are spoken throughout Canada. (This is especially relevant since broadcasting plays a vital role in preserving and revitalizing traditional Indigenous languages.)
Besides communicating in different Indigenous languages, attendees stated that government entities should take time to listen to Indigenous views even if they don’t seem to relate to an existing policy or way of doing things. What is being said may uncover some of the basic issues that need to be resolved.
Attendees noted the importance of the choice and meaning of words used in the new policy, which needs to be done in a way that respects Indigenous Peoples. They noted that often the wording used by the CRTC is patronizing; for example, that Indigenous Peoples have a “special place in Canadian society”Footnote 3 when this is frequently not demonstrated as being the case. Another example is the use of the word “native” in the existing CRTC Native Broadcasting Policy, which is viewed by some Indigenous people as derogatory. A third example is the insistence of broadcasting English or French content in communities, when neither of these languages is spoken or understood by community members.
“The language used should reflect our sovereignty; we want Indigenous Peoples to be honoured in a good way. It can be more dynamic and inspiring.” - Participant
Attendees noted that consultations should be conducted in Indigenous languages whenever possible, since discussions that respect languages and cultures will encourage more involvement of Indigenous people and communities. This will require translators and interpreters. Respecting oral traditions by encouraging Indigenous languages to be spoken in person can help to erase barriers and encourage participation.
Involve Youth, Elders and Knowledge Keepers
Attendees noted that the involvement of Youth and Elders is needed for guidance and wisdom. It is important to gather the perspectives of youth, as they represent generational lines. Youth should be inspired, encouraged, and given a platform to be allowed to talk and be heard. They noted the importance of reaching out to entities who have that connection with youth. Some examples include the National Youth Council, and Indigenous youth organizations or youth departments of Indigenous associations.
Participants stated that establishing an Elders’ Council would be valuable for this process, as Elders provide moral and ethical guidance and provide the traditional truth that is needed. They stressed the importance of involving Elders, since they act as copyright holders of spiritual and cultural wisdom. Also, when information is shared, it must be protected. This is the role of Knowledge Keepers, who should also be involved since it is their responsibility to safeguard traditional knowledge and teachings.
Participants noted that Elders and Knowledge Keepers should receive fair compensation just like any other consultants. In First Nations communities, tobacco should be given to Elders in reciprocity of providing information. This shows respect for their knowledge of culture and traditions.
“Elders are the foundation to the industry.” - Participant
Protocol and Representation
Many attendees noted that ceremony needs to be a part of this process. Respecting ceremony will ensure that Indigenous people are setting the terms of the new policy and that it is done in a good way. It was also noted that as part of protocol, there needs to be a process implemented for forward movement. Once the larger consultation is complete, attendees stated that the next step should include the distribution of draft policies to ensure that the information gathered is captured correctly and accurately.
Attendees stated that all categories of Indigenous players in the broadcasting industry must be involved. This includes on-screen content creators, musical and audio-visual artists, filmmakers, television personnel, creators of webisodes, interactive media producers, broadcast technicians, etc. There should also be a focus on those who want to work in the industry, and on the needs of Indigenous audiences. In the overall scheme, there needs to be a voice from each of these groups.
Overall, attendees noted that meaningful engagement should provide the ability to recognize different needs across Canada. When sessions are held throughout Canada, they should capture the realities of urban and rural communities and Indigenous governments. This is a rights-based approach. Sessions need to be facilitated by Indigenous people. They stressed the importance of holding community-based sessions, and to ensure the inclusion of Northern and remote communities.
It was noted that Indigenous Peoples cannot be considered as one large group. There is a need to recognize distinctive groups, i.e., to differentiate between First Nations, Métis and Inuit. There are over 600 First Nations in Canada. There are Métis communities in Ontario and the Western provinces, but others who identify as Métis in Quebec and the Maritime provinces. Inuit inhabit most of northern Canada and are located in over 50 communities, spread across the territory of Nunavut; in Nunavik (Northern Quebec); in Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut in Labrador; and throughout the Northwest Territories, particularly around the Arctic Ocean, in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
Participants emphasized that throughout the consultation process, it is important to have Inuit representation. Nunavut is a special case; it is an enormous geographic area with a largely Inuit population, and people involved in the broadcasting sector in Nunavut have well-established relationships and partnerships. Participants mentioned specific entities that should be consulted: Film Nunavut; the new Inuit TV Network; and especially Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the association that represents the Inuit nation.
“The concern when dealing with a federal government body is that Inuit get pushed to the side.” - Participant
To ensure participants understand the purpose of any information-gathering sessions, they should be given a clear understanding of what is being requested, and they should receive this information prior to the sessions so they have some time to think about it. Attendees emphasized that this process is not about political views; rather, it should reflect the communities’ needs, their experiences, issues with accessing broadcasting services, and what type of content is meaningful to them.
Participants emphasized the lack of understanding mainstream broadcasters have of Indigenous traditions, history, culture and people; they felt that this is why programming is sometimes seen as insensitive. Once the policy is created, information sessions should be hosted by the CRTC for both Indigenous and non- Indigenous people.
Methods of Outreach
Participants in every session stressed that Indigenous representation is a must in all discussions and in all phases of the co-development of an Indigenous Broadcasting Policy. Different people need to be included in the consultations, i.e., those who did not participate in these early engagement sessions during Phase One. There should be meetings and forums organized in a similar way to these engagement sessions, so that input can be gathered that reflects the needs of communities. Attendees also noted that the consultation needs to be transparent and must be based on principles of consensus-building.
Various methods of outreach were recommended to the CRTC:
- Radio, using existing infrastructures to facilitate discussion, including community Indigenous radio (i.e. what the CRTC identifies as “Type A”) stations;
- Local live programs;
- Community television stations;
- Live streaming;
- Use Internet technology as an option for sessions;
- Hold online gatherings;
- Social media, especially Facebook, and social networking;
- Use a website to accept feedback;
- Online forums;
- Direct phone calls.
A mix of different consultation styles was recommended:
- Discussion forums across Canada;
- Town hall meetings;
- Roundtable meetings;
- Engagement sessions;
- Consultation meetings;
- Working groups;
- Form a committee of Indigenous broadcasters to assist the CRTC with consultations (greater buy-in);
- Obtain feedback from smaller communities;
- Involve Elders, Indigenous youth;
- Organize meetings through the communities’ Communication Officers and leaders.
Attendees stated that the CRTC should visit communities face to face and take time to sit with people, to listen, and to explain the role of the CRTC. In-person visits will help the CRTC to understand how broadcasting is used in the community. Announcements about the process can be made by all Indigenous radio stations and by APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network). Connecting with music artists can be done via radio stations; connecting with audio-visual creators, through the Indigenous Screen Office.
Compensation for participants
Attendees noted that the consultation process should be conducted in a fair and respectful way. Several participants felt that they, and others who will be consulted in future, should be compensated for their time, knowledge, and expertise. This would include all who attend, even those who are independent (i.e., representing themselves, rather than a broadcaster, community, organization or association), since this is taking time away from their other priorities. Compensation can be done through honorariums (cash), gift cards, gifts, tobacco for Elders, etc. This compensation should also apply to reviewing the draft of the final report or policy. It is important to reduce barriers for participation, so if travel is required to attend, these expenses should be reimbursed due to the high cost of transportation.
They reiterated that Elders and Knowledge Keepers who are consulted on any CRTC policies should be compensated fairly for their knowledge.
Communication about the process
Participants noted that communication is key in these engagements and everyone involved should be kept informed throughout the whole process. As contributors, attendees need to know what is being considered, need to have the time to review documents and to decide on ways to improve policies and provide recommendations. Overall, this approach should not be top-down but should involve all members of the community.
“Our voice matters.” - Participant
A portal should be created to keep communication open. Participants also agreed that they have a responsibility to ensure their own communities are updated through appropriate communication channels.
There has already been a great deal of study and research conducted on issues, needs, challenges and suggested solutions related to Indigenous broadcasting and content creation. For example, there are many relevant studies available from the Indigenous Screen OfficeFootnote 4. Participants also suggested that the CRTC should refer to the National Indigenous Music StudyFootnote 5 which was released in fall 2019.
“We do not need any more studies. Indigenous people do not want to be studied anymore.” - Participant
Nevertheless, if more research is needed during this process, it is important to follow OCAP (ownership, control, access, possession) principles. Intellectual property also needs to be protected.
Three areas were identified as requiring further investigation:
- The existing royalty system, and how it has an impact on Indigenous musicians;
- Indigenous youth’s interests and preferences for apps, new technology and content choices; and
- International Indigenous music, and how to achieve common goals.
Reporting on the new policy
With financial support, someone should organize a gathering to announce the policy and to celebrate what Indigenous people have achieved. This will attract positive media attention by highlighting the new policy that has been put in place, and act as a vehicle to showcase Indigenous talent.
In addition to the full policy, there needs to be a streamlined version of the document provided to Indigenous broadcasters and content creators, so they can review it quickly.
At the end of the process, a national body should be formed (more about this later) to create a report card reflecting the current situation with broadcasters, with “Action Items” to itemize what needs to be done, when each activity will start, and when results were achieved.
Database of key contacts
Attendees noted that a database of key contacts is needed to enable the sharing of knowledge within the Indigenous broadcasting community, and especially to communicate all phases of this co-development process. The database should include Indigenous-operated radio and television broadcasters, as well as Indigenous audio-visual creators, producers, programmers, actors and crew. Spoken-word and audio creators, including Indigenous broadcast journalists, comedians, music performers, song-writers, music producers and talent managers are also integral to the process. Any Indigenous-led associations or organizations related to this industry, where they exist, should also be included in the contact database.
Once the co-development process is complete, this “key contacts” database should be maintained. It can be utilized by both mainstream broadcasters and non-Indigenous organizations to easily identify and contact personnel in the industry, and keep connected to each other. Some attendees felt that the CRTC should be responsible for keeping this contact data current, while others felt that it should be managed by an Indigenous organization; no matter who manages this database, it should be kept current.
What is working well?
CRTC and the Department of Canadian Heritage
It was echoed throughout the sessions that participants appreciated the CRTC taking the time to meet with broadcasters and content creators in Indigenous communities to obtain feedback. The approach taken with these sessions was respectful and courteous. Participants noted that it was great to meet CRTC personnel and they appreciated that Indigenous people were facilitating the sessions.
During the sessions it was noted that the relationship between the Department of Canadian Heritage and the broadcasters has been going well since 1984, but could be better and needs to be strengthened.
On the TV side, participants acknowledged the CRTC’s new incentive for major broadcasters to include Indigenous audio-visual programmingFootnote 6 that can be used towards Canadian Programming Expenditures has good intentions and is beneficial for mainstream commercial broadcasters, though it was not clear how it was being measured or whether it has been beneficial to Indigenous producers.
Participants noted that improvements were needed throughout the Broadcasting ActFootnote 7. Overall, the Act needs to include more references to Indigenous Peoples and support for Indigenous programming, but they also understood that the CRTC is not responsible for changing government legislation (that is Canadian Heritage’s job). Participants recognized the financial support and efforts from Canadian Heritage and CRTC to establish a major national Indigenous broadcaster two decades ago: APTN.
Indigenous Broadcasting Community
There were many achievements noted by participants, and recognition that Indigenous personnel working in the media industry have made and continue to make great strides. Throughout the years, the Indigenous broadcasting community in Canada has been very resilient and unique. APTN is the first national Indigenous broadcaster to have been established in the world. Many talented music artists who made their start on Indigenous radio stations have received accolades not just from the Indigenous community, but throughout the world. Indigenous music and film festivals are well-attended and showcase a variety of content that can be aired on radio and television, sometimes garnering even more attention internationally than within Canada. Most of this success has been achieved “on a shoestring” and has been a source of great pride.
“We’re very resilient.” - Participant
Nunavut was identified as a special case with unique needs. Nunavut is primarily populated by Inuit, and is a jurisdiction with defined borders and land claims that are settled and clearly understood. People involved in broadcasting in Nunavut work well with each other and this area is known to have established strong relationships within its broadcasting community.
Participants identified Australia and New Zealand as places where there has been great success with broadcasting in Indigenous languages on radio and television. The governments of these countries offer a high level of support for Indigenous broadcasters, with well-funded, sustainable programs. Investment in Indigenous content in both English and in traditional languages has led to success, not just in these two countries, but globally as well.
Within Canada, several participants mentioned the First Nations radio station in the BC community of Bella Coola as being noteworthy for incorporating Indigenous language throughout its programmingFootnote 8. It is a prime example of a First Nations broadcaster that has professional language speakers who work at the station to help with and contribute to the community’s traditional language in radio programming.
Attendees noted that APTN has a mandate to provide a specific percentage of programming in various Indigenous languages. One unique example was when a hockey game was recently called in the Plains Cree language on APTN; attendees also recalled times when the national anthem has been sung in different Indigenous languages at NHL games. However, this is not enough; they stated the importance of creating a policy that encourages the use of Indigenous languages throughout the Canadian broadcasting system. While it rarely happens in commercial broadcasting, when Indigenous languages are heard on mainstream radio or television, or when popular TV programs have been dubbed from English or French into an Indigenous language, these are the moments when participants feel that progress is starting to be made.
Participants noted the success that radio stations in communities have had due to their hard work and support received from within the community. They recognized the importance of community stations working together and learning from each other, while remaining independent. Even though they feel there is still much to be done, they are very proud of their accomplishments, and recognition of their efforts is important. Some attendees noted that they run their stations for the love of music, to support their local artists, and for their community members, knowing there is little or no money in it. Music can set a mood, lift up spirits, and remind people of good times from the past. Radio stations also provide an essential communications tool in their communities, providing important news and information that keeps their residents safe, secure and entertained.
Attendees acknowledged that more attention is now being paid to Indigenous music with the result that there is now a cohort of successful Indigenous artists. This is due not only to Indigenous radio stations, but also to the hard work and contributions from certain local and provincial Indigenous music organizations whose efforts have led to greater support and recognition of these artists. Participants specifically called out the excellent work being done by Manitoba MusicFootnote 9 to promote, represent, act as a centre and provide an outlet for Indigenous music creation and to assist Indigenous music artists. The importance of creating similar Indigenous music communities in other regions of the country was mentioned repeatedly. Others do exist, and participants expressed sincere hope that these would also become just as successful.
Participants also noted an increase in the number of Indigenous artists who have signed with a label and whose music is now becoming more recognizable on mainstream radio. The Indigenous Music Countdown showFootnote 10, produced by NCI-FM from Winnipeg, is Canada’s longest-running Indigenous music chart program and provides a weekly Top 40 listingFootnote 11. It is picked up by other Indigenous stations around the country and is also heard on SiriusXM. Because Indigenous musicians are heard regularly on these stations, they take pride in their work and are inspired by this recognition. They are also properly compensated through the royalty system. Participants felt there should be more programs of this sort aired throughout the country.
Through radio broadcasting, Indigenous people are reclaiming language and culture. It was mentioned repeatedly that Indigenous people are proud to broadcast in their own language. In addition, humour is frequently used as a way to communicate with each other and all Canadians. Participants mentioned several Indigenous comedians including Howie Miller, Don Kelly, Ryan McMahon and Candy Palmater, to name a few. They noted that telling their stories with humour helps to eliminate the stereotyping of Indigenous peoples.
Participants noted that many listeners tune into radio from their homes using social media to hear their music and news happening in their communities. Those who live in urban centres use online radio as a way to connect to their communities back home. Live-streaming radio programs provides a way for Indigenous music and spoken-word artists to be discovered not just within their communities, but around the world.
It was noted that many communities have been archiving their radio programming through digitization. This is done to capture and save unrecorded Indigenous music and to preserve content that reflects the cultural, social and traditional ways of life. However, there is a great deal of material that still needs to be digitized.
A few participants mentioned the success they have had in their communities by involving youth through volunteering at local radio stations. These young people have also become interested in filmography (using their mobile devices) and are learning about how to tell audio-visual stories. Attendees acknowledged that these opportunities can lead to developing a keen interest in the broadcasting industry, and they hope to encourage more of this activity.
Audio-visual Broadcasters and Content Creators
Participants noted the importance of establishing the Indigenous Screen OfficeFootnote 12 which provides support for Indigenous film and television producers and is led and managed by Indigenous members.
Another success has been the database of Indigenous artists and creators developed by APTN in partnership with ImagineNATIVE (the annual Indigenous film festival)Footnote 13 who have worked together to create a roster of Indigenous filmmakers. This can be used as a resource to promote and showcase Indigenous talent.
Participants also noted that the Canadian Media Fund’s Indigenous programFootnote 14 and Northern Incentive programFootnote 15 are working well by providing opportunities that encourage youth and emerging producers to tell their stories, and to create content in traditional languages.
Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network (APTN), Inuit TV, and CBC North
Participants pointed to APTN as a clear success story, having made huge contributions to Indigenous broadcasting. As a national Indigenous television network, it has produced and aired programs made by, for and about Indigenous peoples in Canada for over twenty years. It also owns two Indigenous radio stations.
In the area of television broadcasting, participants noted the success of recent films and documentaries such as “Indian Horse”, “The Grizzlies”, “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”, and “Stolen”, as well as TV shows such as “Mohawk Girls”, “Hard Rock Medical”, and “Skindigenous”. “First Contact”, which first aired on APTN, has been a popular documentary series that explores Indigenous issues through the experiences of non-Indigenous people, and has also been aired on TVOntario.
Attendees noted that Indigenous Days LiveFootnote 16, held every year on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) since 2007 and broadcast live by APTN, has been highly successful and is proof of the need for more funding to broadcast many other Indigenous music festivals held throughout the year across Canada.
Attendees noted that there is still much work to be done to create programming in the Inuktitut language and have it aired on major television networks. They noted that APTN is including some of this programming on its network, though it needs to include even more. There is a new initiative underway, the Inuit TV Network, which will focus on cultural and language education, and plans to showcase Inuit filmmakers’ work. It would also run content from other production companies, such as the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation.
Participants also mentioned that CBC North works well to bring broadcasting content to many, although not all, communities in the North, and it could be considered as a model by providing a certain amount of locally-focused Indigenous content on all CBC radio and television stations.
Indigenous allies in the broadcasting space
Participants recognized that there are some Indigenous allies who can (and do) help to promote Indigenous content. For example, the National Film Board (NFB) has embarked on a three-year planFootnote 17 to redefine its relationship with Indigenous peoples and has assembled an Indigenous Advisory group to provide expertise in production, distribution, community engagement, broadcasting, education, curation, archiving, treatment of its collection, Indigenous copyright, and public policy.
Also recognized for its contributions to Indigenous broadcasting content development is the National Screen Institute (NSI)Footnote 18, a training organization for writers, directors and producers in film, television and digital media. It receives funding and support from a variety of Indigenous partners, allowing it to offer several programs that incorporate Indigenous ceremony and are designed specifically for Indigenous creators. Its work is being done in a good way due to the large amount of funding allocated in its budgets for Indigenous youth, to ensure they have access to entry-level training to work in the industry, but through an Indigenous lens, and by honouring traditions.
What is the Definition of Success?
When asked about what was needed for Indigenous broadcasting to be successful, many attendees stated that it was important to first consider the definition of success, which should be based on their own definition and not on colonial standards, where the focus is often on financial success versus the impact one has in one’s community. Because of this, Indigenous people working in broadcasting need to have a foot in both worlds.
For example, the Numeris system is used to measure success in television viewership and radio listening, but is limited to measuring only certain markets and does not provide a fair comparison between Indigenous versus non-Indigenous listening or viewership. Attendees noted that Numeris does not demonstrate the success of Indigenous broadcasters who have a much higher percentage of Indigenous viewers and listeners per capita in Indigenous communities. Audience sizes needs to be considered along with the target audience.
One solution suggested during the engagements sessions would be for communities to create their own success indicators measured by the number of listeners that tune into radio or watch APTN over the total Indigenous population in a community. Using this example, participants observed that often, colonial standards of measures of success cannot be applied to Indigenous broadcasting.
What, then, might success look like? Participants reiterated the need to establish a new model, one where Indigenous broadcasters and content creators are involved in all aspects (private, public, and community), in all governance structures, and on all platforms in the Canadian broadcasting industry, in order to:
- Provide opportunities for Indigenous creators;
- Share programming;
- Support Indigenous identity and culture;
- Promote content around the world; and
- Provide a new source of programming to non-Indigenous entities.
The following issues identified by participants are preventing this model from taking shape:
Most Indigenous radio stations operate in a negative revenue position, i.e., their expenses are higher than any revenue they are able to bring in, combined with whatever funding they are able to secure (if any). Despite this, they do whatever they can to continue operating their stations because of the important role radio serves in their communities.
Indigenous radio stations would like to sell advertisingFootnote 19, but it is difficult or impossible to attract national advertisers. Even local sales opportunities are challenging, especially in smaller communities where there are few businesses that can afford to buy advertising. Participants noted that radio stations frequently host bingo gamesFootnote 20 to cover some of their operational costs. Communities also try to support their local radio stations by selling merchandise such as branded clothing, which also helps to advertise the station. But these efforts are not nearly enough: it was noted that generally, Indigenous radio stations rely on whatever funding support is available from the government (especially for operational expenses). Some funding for the development of content aired on these stations is also available via Canadian Content Development (CCD) contributionsFootnote 21 (set out as a CRTC policy) from commercial broadcasters, however, they are made at the broadcasters’ discretion.
Establishing an Indigenous radio station generally involves consent through consultation with the community, then approval by the community’s leadership. The station must be owned and controlled by a non-profit organization whose board is made up of members of the Indigenous population in the region. Participants noted that a community-based radio station represents a community’s voice, becoming its central hub of information, and as such, should not be regarded as or operated like a sophisticated media corporation in the money-making business. However, participants expressed that they often felt as though they were expected to function as a large entity and abide by the same rules as a commercial station that operates as a business.
“From an economic point of view in regard to Indigenous radio stations, one cannot start without consent, consultation and approval of the community. Assistance is needed to help our station grow while keeping up with the demands of new technology.” - Participant
Attendees felt there needs to be a more level playing field to reach parity with the rest of the industry, with special conditions applied when required. Currently there are two types of Indigenous radio stations: Type A and Type BFootnote 22. The current policy requires both to be set up as not-for-profit organizations. Participants noted the need for different policies and supports for smaller radio stations in communities where no other commercial radio stations exist in the area (these Type A stations are, in fact, exempted from regulation) vs. stations located in larger urban areas (Type B) alongside commercial stations. Attendees suggested that there may be a need for a third type that is more in line with for-profit commercial stations, i.e., one where the station can be run as a profit/loss business, while still providing a high level of Indigenous content, but exempted from making CCD contributions and having less onerous regulatory reporting requirements. Participants requested that this be explored during the development of the new policy.
In many situations, Indigenous communities are very particular about the content aired on their station, since it should encourage Indigenous culture, traditions and languages. However, most are low-power radio stations (usually Type A) whose signal reaches only within the community. Some participants said they would like to expand this reach by increasing the transmitter’s power, so members of the community that live nearby, but outside the range of the signal, can tune in and still feel part of the community. This can pose a problem if the community is near a large centre which already has one or more commercial radio stations, since under the current policy, the Indigenous community would then need to apply for a Type B licence.
Likewise, some Indigenous radio broadcasters with Type B licences operating in major centres, where advertising revenue is more readily available, offer a programming format that resembles mainstream radio, but in this case it becomes a balancing act, since it is still important to continue representing their local Indigenous community, especially when it comes to telling Indigenous stories, preserving language, and promoting local content creators.
The ideal scenario would be to provide funding to all Indigenous communities so they can establish radio stations across Canada and build capacity. However, at present, this funding is limited and it is awarded only on application, meaning that communities are competing between each other when trying to access even small amounts of available funding.
Throughout the sessions, issues repeatedly came up about how broadcasting infrastructure in Indigenous communities was outdated, not working, in dire need of repair, or using technology with components that can no longer be replaced. Participants stressed that Indigenous communities need:
- Access to current technology, rather than hand-me-down, used equipment;
- Conversion of television broadcasting infrastructure to handle high-definition (HD) standard;
- Access to available technicians who can maintain equipment to ensure that services continue to work, or else,
- Training for on-site staff to operate and maintain infrastructure, especially satellite-based technology;
- The ability to increase power (i.e., wattage on a radio station) without going through a complex regulatory process, so that transmission can reach distant areas of the community, allowing hunters, trappers and other remotely-located community members to maintain a connection to home; and
- Reliable and affordable broadband infrastructure that meets the minimum standards set out for, and interconnects with, the rest of country.
Participants mentioned the need for businesses that install and maintain broadcasting and network technology to work more collaboratively with Indigenous radio and television operators, especially when maintaining or updating network infrastructure. It can sometimes take weeks, months or even years to repair antennas and satellite ground equipment. A few attendees mentioned they have been able to form partnerships with these businesses, where back-up equipment and training has been provided to minimize or avoid long delays in repair times and expensive travel costs, but this is not a widespread practice.
Television infrastructure in Northern communities
Attendees noted that throughout the North, but especially in Nunavut, satellite is still the main means of media distribution in most communities. Much of the infrastructure is not up-to-date and because of this, it is difficult to distribute audio-visual content. In fact, in some of the most remote areas, there is no communications infrastructure, so TV programs, films and newscasts are only accessible by physically circulating DVDs or USBs containing recorded content amongst community members who then watch on their unconnected TV sets or computers. In other areas, broadcasting is only possible using satellite or closed-circuit cable television distribution systems, and many remote communities have access to broadcasting technology that is equipped to handle only TV programming created for standard definition (SD) television format. However, most content is now filmed in high definition format, requiring re-formatting (in effect, downgrading to standard definition) so the majority of audience members can view it, though it does incur additional costs for the producer and/or broadcaster.
Attendees mentioned how important it is to ensure funding is made available for maintaining existing satellite infrastructure, which is ubiquitous throughout the North. Until such time as television broadcasting technology can be updated, there is a need to train people so that older technology is still in good working order, but participants noted that there are fewer experts around now who can do this work or provide training, since many have moved on to the HD standard (or have retired!).
Accessing television content via the Internet is simply not a solution due to limited access to broadband service throughout the North (outside of major centres such as Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Whitehorse). Even where broadband is available, its high cost is beyond the reach of many residents. There are several initiatives underway to make more Indigenous content available onlineFootnote 23, but physical and financial restrictions limit many people from accessing it. Even so, participants noted that online infrastructure is becoming the de facto standard for audio-visual content, for information and learning opportunities as well as for entertainment purposes, to enable:
- Live-streaming audio and audio-visual content;
- Social media (e.g. Facebook, YouTube) used to distribute content;
- Video games; and
- Other interactive applications.
In short, greater effort – which can only start with increased funding -- is needed to implement accessible and affordable broadband service. While everyone waits, traditional methods of television distribution must continue to be supported in the North.
Participants from the music industry noted that their work is well-represented on Indigenous radio stations. The issues they face have to do with the relatively small number of these stations that exist, and hence the need to reach a wider audience. Attendees noted that Indigenous-created music is not widely aired on mainstream (commercial) radio, and when it is, listeners are not necessarily aware that it has been created by Indigenous artists.They felt strongly that if there was a requirement for a specific minimum percentage of Indigenous music to be aired by all radio broadcasters, this would vastly increase the chances for discoverability of their music.
“We need to see the shift from our kitchen table to everyone’s kitchen tables.” - Participant
Attendees felt strongly that the CRTC has a responsibility to establish “quota” regulations on non-Indigenous stations, i.e., making the inclusion of Indigenous content mandatory. In addition, commercial stations should also include some percentage of Indigenous spoken-word content based on traditional languages spoken in a local area, community or region, for example, Mi’kmaw, Cree, Mohawk, Inuktitut, etc. While this means that the amount of non-Indigenous music aired on all radio stations will need to decrease, slightly, to accommodate more Indigenous-created content, participants pointed out that increasing the number of Indigenous hosts and programs on mainstream radio would be welcomed by Indigenous audiences, and at the same time, would expose Indigenous talent and perspectives to non-Indigenous audiences.
“We need more shows like “Heartbeat of Nations” that are created at a grassroots level to showcase our music, our humour and our knowledge.” - Participant
Currently, commercial radio stations are required to air a minimum of 35% Canadian content, and music created by Indigenous artists who are Canadian citizens is considered part of that 35%. However, there are few mainstream stations that include Indigenous-created music as a conscious choice in their programming line-up. Some participants suggested that to establish a more noticeable presence, Indigenous music should make up a mandatory minimum of 5% (roughly equating to the population of Indigenous people in Canada) of music selections aired on English- and French-language commercial radio. A few participants also stressed the importance of reflecting on the notion that Indigenous-created music should not necessarily be considered “Canadian” content; rather, it is Indigenous contentFootnote 24, and for this reason, should have its own distinct category, with a mandated quota, nevertheless.
Attendees noted a related issue, that being the lack of investment in the development and support of Indigenous music and musicians. If the production values of recorded music were improved (meaning, that Indigenous artists had access to high-end studio recording technology and resources), then higher-quality music would be produced, which would then make their music more attractive to mainstream radio and especially to Top 40 stations. CCD contributions, noted above, are often made available to non-Indigenous music artists to provide support for exactly these purposes, but are given far less frequently to their Indigenous counterparts. Also missing is a publicly-available online catalogue of Indigenous music, allowing mainstream radio to be aware of and thus have the ability to more readily select from the rich and diverse range of Indigenous music, artists, and genres.
Participants also mentioned that Indigenous music artists run a high risk for unauthorized use of their music, since many lack access to artist management advice, including an understanding of how to formally register and certify ownership of their music under various copyright regimes.
Audio-visual Content Creators
Indigenous producers / content creators described a major issue: because demand is low, Indigenous television content is limited. There is a two-fold solution to this supply and demand problem: mainstream television broadcasters must increase Indigenous programming on existing networks, and funding must be increased so that more content can be created. In a nutshell, Indigenous audio-visual content creators need access to more “prime-time” real estate, and access to more funding.
Attendees explained that despite their continued efforts, they are constantly being shuffled over to APTN without being given serious consideration by other broadcasters. They feel, similar to music creators, that the only way to change this is to impose mandatory requirements on mainstream broadcasters to air a minimum percentage of Indigenous content – and this would be a floor, not a ceiling. This would create an obligation to seek out Indigenous productions, which would in turn help to support the careers of Indigenous audio-visual creators, and would have the additional benefit of expanding the amount of new programming available to all Canadians.
“We have become invisible as Indigenous producers, because these big media outlets suggest going to APTN, rather than taking on any new Indigenous content or programming.” - Participant
In addition to establishing a quota for Indigenous content on traditional television, they felt that Netflix and other online audio-visual platforms should not only have a requirement to provide a certain percentage of Canadian content, but there should be a specific percentage of Indigenous content available. It is time for Indigenous stories to be told to the broader Canadian audience on all platforms.
Another issue discussed was how television programming is becoming more irrelevant for Indigenous children. There are few television shows geared to youth, and even less of this content is available in Indigenous languages. There are a specific group of Indigenous audio-visual producers who are developing this content, including in animation form, but more is needed. Again, it is an issue of supply and demand: more funding will produce more content, which can be made available. They noted that there are some Indigenous shows for kids online, but not all communities have access to broadband service.
Telling Indigenous stories
To protect the Indigenous sovereignty, participants stressed that Indigenous stories should be told by Indigenous people: this policy should apply when any broadcaster airs programming that includes all forms of Indigenous content: music, spoken-word and audio-visual. Sadly, this is not yet a widespread practice throughout the broadcasting system.
Participants expressed that for Indigenous people to tell their stories, they need more funding to produce their own content. Besides making more funding available and setting out minimum exhibition levels on mainstream media (both traditional television and online), distinctions are needed within the program certification system when identifying elements that are used to define what makes a program “Indigenous”.
“There are a lot of different stories, so we need to ensure the Indigeneity of these projects.” - Participant
Participants strongly expressed that to fight stereotypes, success stories must be shared, and that Indigenous people need to report on and to hear their own good news stories. Non-Indigenous people should hear these stories, too: there is a need for more positive Indigenous content in mainstream news. Participants noted the importance of establishing policies to ensure that Indigenous stories are featured locally, provincially, regionally, and nationally. Attendees felt morevisible Indigenous content could help overcome the problems of racism that currently exist in Canada.
“What could Reconciliation look like in broadcasting? Indigenous voices telling Indigenous stories to help to educate non-Indigenous Canadians, through content creation.” - Participant
Mainstream Broadcasters have a major role to play
Participants stressed how important it is for major broadcasters to understand their role in meeting Canada’s obligations to Indigenous Peoples. They believe that there is a need to overhaul mainstream broadcasting policies and change the licensing framework to ensure the system provides a broader range of opportunities by compelling broadcasters to air programming that is more reflective of Indigenous Peoples; it needs to increase in markets where Indigenous people are living (which today, in Canada, is almost everywhere) and also in markets where there is not a large concentration of Indigenous Peoples.
They felt that more pressure needs to be placed on major broadcasters to set aside portions of their budgets for use in supporting new and emerging Indigenous audio and audio-visual artists in Canada. This includes providing funding for Indigenous students in the form of scholarships and bursaries to study broadcasting, and for apprenticeships and internships for Indigenous students. Mainstream broadcasters need to demonstrate a minimum percentage of Indigenous employment in their companies.
Repeatedly, participants stated the need to include a guaranteed mandatory percentage of Indigenous content, created by and for Indigenous Peoples, by every major broadcaster. Participants felt that this should become a Condition of Licence and re-iterated at licence renewal. It needs to be tracked, measured, and enforced if the percentage drops below the minimum. They stressed that it must go beyond incentives or “encouragement”.
The following sections outline other major issues identified by participants which involve mainstream broadcasters:
When non-Indigenous organizations receive public funding or claim Canadian content
Many participants mentioned the importance of putting verification processes in place to prevent the awarding of credits, funding, tax incentives or other benefits to non-Indigenous producers who create Indigenous productions (i.e., those that are either Indigenous-themed, or whose target audience is Indigenous), when the majority ownership of a production company is held by a non-Indigenous person or group. Participants echoed the need to implement a system which verifies that content has been created by Indigenous producers when setting out a mandatory minimum percentage of Indigenous programming aired by mainstream broadcasters.
“Anytime there is an Indigenous project, Indigenous people should be leading it.” - Participant
Participants noted that when applying for public funding, many arts-based organizations in Canada (such as theatre) must fulfill requirements for hiring Indigenous people. Similarly, when broadcasting content is being developed and producers have applied for public fundingFootnote 25, they too should be obligated to hire or else make provisions to train Indigenous people so there are opportunities to work on the project. Producers seeking funding should include an Indigenous employment component in their budgets. If skilled Indigenous resources are not available, then training should be included in the production budget.
While it may be more appropriate to make this a requirement when producers apply for public funding from cultural programs or institutions, attendees felt that what should be part of CRTC policy is to make Indigenous hiring and/or training an element of program certification, whereby mainstream broadcasters must confirm that in meeting their Canadian content requirements (or Canadian programming expenditure requirements), they have selected a certain amount of program content created by Canadian producers that have put this practice in place.
In cases where mainstream broadcasters are not fulfilling such “Indigenous content” requirements, they should be penalized. Everyone needs to be accountable at every level of production if they are accessing public dollars and/or operating in Canada. Participants cited instances where non-Indigenous organizations have received public funding to create Indigenous-themed content, but the money stayed within the organization instead of involving Indigenous personnel. Non-Indigenous people working on these projects need to understand their role and not take over Indigenous ideas. Attendees recalled the saying, “Nothing about us, without us.”
“The Broadcasting Act is a part of Canadian sovereignty. We would like to see the same philosophy when it comes to Indigenous sovereignty. You are not allowed to call a show ‘Canadian’ if you do not employ Canadians, so it should be the same when it comes to telling an Indigenous story. It should not be supported if it is not an ‘Indigenous’ production.”
Throughout the engagement sessions, there was strong emphasis on breaking down persistent stereotypes in broadcasting. Various examples were provided, including: hiring Indigenous actors only for Indigenous roles; creating stories for television and film where the Indigenous person or community was portrayed as disadvantaged and needing help; depicting Indigenous persons as warriors; characterizing Indigenous music as “drumbeat / pow-wow” while ignoring the large number of Indigenous musicians who perform in country, rap, folk, electronic, rock and classical music genres; and on the production side, avoiding the hiring of Indigenous technicians or craftspeople based on the incorrect view that they lack sufficient experience or training.
It was noted that pitches for television shows made by non-Indigenous creators are sometimes based on, or feature, Indigenous storylines or characters, in an effort to “boost” Indigenous content. While the underlying intent of developing this content is understood, and appreciated, it can result in a lack of awareness of what is appropriate, of who Indigenous people are, and can also lead to misrepresentation of Indigenous practices and traditions.
Participants felt that a regulatory policy is needed to protect Indigenous peoples from being stereotyped in productions, and such a policy needs to be enforced. Respectful portrayal of Indigenous people is a major step in avoiding the spread of biased information. Whenever Indigenous languages, teachings or stories are being broadcast on mainstream media, they need to be treated just as they would be by any community that respects its teachings, knowledge, history, and traditions.
At the very least, it was felt that equitable portrayal codes should be reviewed by all broadcasters and production companies, and if necessary, revised, to prevent continued typecasting and mischaracterization of Indigenous people. Attendees also noted the need for a mechanism to handle complaints about misrepresentation in film and television. To reverse the mistaken view that Indigenous broadcasting technicians are somehow less skilled, participants expressed the need for craft unions to work more closely and collegially with Indigenous personnel. A starting point might be to create a database that lists qualified Indigenous technicians who are available for hire as crew on productions, including their areas of expertise and previous projects.
Other views about stereotyping that were shared included giving Indigenous creators the opportunity to pitch ideas and receive funding for projects with stories that fall outside of what was expected to include Indigenous content. Also, just because an actor “looks” (or does not look) Indigenous should not be a determining factor for casting choices.
The damaging stereotypes that continue to occur in all forms of media need to be called out. By correcting this issue, it will help change the way non-Indigenous people view Indigenous Peoples.
Representing distinct Indigenous cultures on mainstream radio and television
Attendees noted that communities want to showcase their cultures and traditions and make these available to mainstream broadcasters. They also stated the need for more culturally sensitive content that is indicative of specific communities, rather than ‘pan-Indigenous’ approaches. Participants felt that mainstream broadcasters are often insensitive to the fact that Indigenous members of communities and those who live in regions have different interests. There are tremendous opportunities to represent these differences in audio-visual productions, in music programming, and in newscasts on television and radio, but it means that policies are needed to ensure this cultural sensitivity.
On the other hand, some attendees noted that increasing focus on Indigenous culture does not necessarily work all the time, especially if it is being done as a form of tokenism. A few participants stated that buzzwords like “Reconciliation” are often over-used and run the risk of becoming a meme. Attendees want to see real change with real intentions.
These issues can often lead to misunderstandings and bias. Several participants suggested the requirement for all productions that contain Indigenous subject matter or content to have Indigenous advisors appointed to the project. Having an Indigenous Cultural Expert on-set or in-studio to explain traditions and protocols and discuss cultural awareness will ensure that content is appropriate.
They also identified a need for an Indigenous advisor to be employed by each major broadcaster. This person could act as a resource within the company (for protocols, hiring practices, cultural sensitivity, etc.) but could also become the first point of contact for Indigenous producers who wish to present their Indigenous content for consideration to a mainstream broadcaster, program funder, or program developer.
Attendees stated that the same concept also needs to extend to situations where non-Indigenous people come into communities looking for material to capture on film, since community members often have concerns about their stories, traditions, culture and sacred places being disrespected, misunderstood, misappropriated, or worse, stolen.
It is important to consider the mental health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples working in the industry, particularly with respect to cultural awareness and inclusivity. Participants noted the need to involve Elders, Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, and Cultural Protocol specialists in all aspects of broadcasting. However, they also mentioned a concern that hiring these people costs money, and this is not something that many commercial businesses want to invest in.
Not enough Indigenous languages heard on mainstream radio and television
Various issues involving Indigenous language in mainstream broadcasting were identified, including the need for:
- More music sung in Indigenous languages on radio;
- More Indigenous languages to be spoken on radio; and
- Important public alerts and warnings to be broadcast in Indigenous languages;
- Incorporating Indigenous language in all television programming (not only on APTN).
Attendees noted that rules around language need to be reviewed so they are less restrictive when it comes to delivering content – i.e., broadcasting not just in English and French, but in Indigenous languages, too -- to make content more relevant to Indigenous audiences. In many regions, mainstream television networks provide content in both French and English, but this programming is irrelevant to Indigenous communities where only traditional Indigenous languages are spoken. For example, in northern Quebec, where 95% of Indigenous people speak Inuktitut or Innu, television programs are mainly broadcast in French. Participants mentioned that provincial funding opportunities are not available to production companies in Quebec wishing to create programming in Inuktitut. One solution suggested by attendees is to provide French-language programs with Inuktitut subtitles so they can be understood by more Indigenous people. In other areas of Canada, television content should be made available in Indigenous languages so it can be enjoyed by Indigenous people. This could be accomplished though over-dubbing or subtitles; however, this language translation is expensive so there is a need for funding assistance.
“The CRTC and the mainstream broadcasters are colonial forces that bring French and English into our communities, which ends up erasing our language.” - Participant
Representation of Indigenous Peoples working in the sector
First and foremost, attendees expressed the importance of ensuring that positions at Indigenous broadcasters are held by members of their communities. This will hold communities more accountable for ensuring their radio stations are managed and staffed by people from the community.
In the wider broadcasting industry, participants felt that a greater Indigenous presence is needed to inject more Indigenous ideas into mainstream broadcasting spaces. To make this happen, they felt that there must be a requirement to employ a minimum percentage of Indigenous people in mainstream broadcasters, and this needs the attention and involvement of the CRTC in that licence obligations for mainstream broadcasters would require reporting on the number of Indigenous people employed by their organization on a yearly basis. Large, national broadcasters especially should support Indigenous employment in both management and executive positions as well as through student apprentice and internship programs. This may require more than just complying with employment equity standards.
All attendees agreed that there is an urgent need for more Indigenous representation working throughout the broadcasting sector:
- in entities that operate using government funds, such as the Canada Media Fund, Telefilm, National Film Board, etc.;
- at the CRTC;
- on radio, television and in film;
- in music production and performance;
- on boards of broadcasting associations and on advisory panels; and
- in mainstream broadcasting and online media companies, both public and private.
In particular, participants emphasized the need to create opportunities, to recognize the abilities of, and to award contracts to Indigenous personnel working behind-the-scenes on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audio-visual productions, i.e., not just considering directors, producers and actors, but also crew positions, such as camera operators; equipment wranglers; costume, make-up, hair and set designers; sound technicians; gaffers; etc.
Not enough Indigenous people occupy decision-making roles
Representation is needed at all levels to reflect Indigenous perspectives and increase the visibility of Indigenous role models, especially in higher-level positions and decision-making roles within larger media outlets, both private and public, including the CBC.
Attendees stated that Indigenous people need to see that they are included in decision-making processes, in the same way that French- and English-language people are involved in making decisions. One example is when establishing funding opportunities and setting up the mechanisms to access that funding. Attendees stated that the CRTC, other government departments, and non-Indigenous organizations must recognize that simply putting programs in place to ensure that Indigenous people are given opportunities to work in the sector does not necessarily level the playing field or remove inequality. They need to be involved from the outset, and to have autonomy over specific funding programs and certain regulatory processes.
Retention and compensation
Mainstream broadcasters should show that they have not only a plan for hiring but also for retaining Indigenous people once having been hired; this includes offering competitive salaries. Several participants recalled situations where there are Indigenous people working in mainstream broadcasting entities, but they are multi-tasking as Indigenous project consultants in addition to doing the job they were hired for.
Participants also mentioned the requirement to hire and retain multilingual individuals (i.e., those who speak English and/or French, and Indigenous languages) to create subtitles for English- and or French-language television programs and to translate news stories and other content into traditional Indigenous languages for delivery on-air. Translators need to be paid on par with other translators that are non-Indigenous. Adding subtitles to popular English- or French-language programs and newscasts is a simple way to make non-Indigenous programming accessible to Indigenous audiences, especially in markets that are close to a large number of Indigenous people or in urban areas where a high percentage of Indigenous people are living.
An overall need for Equity
To move forward, attendees noted the importance of recognizing the history of inequities that have been perpetuated, even in the broadcasting industry. Indigenous broadcasters need to be on par with mainstream broadcasters. They want a seat at the table. Participants felt that this should be reflected in the Broadcasting Act.
“Indigenous people need to be more visible in Canada.” - Participant
Attendees felt that the following areas of inequality need to be acknowledged, reviewed and addressed in the new policyFootnote 26:
- The imbalance of funding, overall;
- The imbalance in structures that support musicians, artists, filmmakers, etc. so that Indigenous content creators can get to the level where the rest of the country’s creators are at;
- Removing the glass ceiling for Indigenous content creators so there is more equitable access to funding resources;
- Improving the ability to access television via both cable distribution and internet;
- Expanding access to broadband and other technologies;
- Recognizing that most Indigenous broadcasters do not have equal access to markets, advertising dollars and sponsors, and putting in place the necessary funding structures to accommodate this;
- The disproportionate amount of Indigenous vs. non-Indigenous music aired on radio;
- The underrepresentation of Indigenous women in television and film;
- Compensation and equal pay for equal work. Being less valued is a barrier to success.
- Ensuring that all Indigenous communities have access to Indigenous community radio stations, rather than in some place, having access only to mainstream radio, where programming is frequently irrelevant to Indigenous citizens.
- Facilitate the ability to share information and knowledge about resources, opportunities, funding, training;
- Create opportunities to provide learning resources, and establish where this will be funded from (for example, by contributions set out through regulation, or from a funding program created by a government department).
Something as basic as channel placement on television was given as a simple example of a long-standing inequity: that is, the need to re-assign Canada’s only Indigenous television network to a lower number on the dial. Several participants questioned why American television networks occupy some of the lowest numbers in television channel line-ups, while APTN is relegated to a higher number thus making it more difficult to locate when viewers are browsing through channels. They felt that APTN is, in effect, treated as a “specialty” channel. (Some participants were under the impression that APTN is not considered as a basic channel, but in fact, APTN is one of the mandatory Canadian services that cable companies and direct-to-home satellite services must provide to their subscribers as part of a basic programming packageFootnote 27.)
Overall, attendees agreed that it was extremely important for the CRTC not only to create policies for Indigenous broadcasters, but also to create regulations for non-Indigenous mainstream broadcasters and to enforce them, in order to level inequalities and to create a fair system.
The previous section described issues that participants identified during the Engagement Sessions. They were also asked about opportunities for improvements, ideas and solutions to improve or resolve many of the challenges they face.
Support for Indigenous community radio broadcasters
There is a definite need for community radio stations to be aware of what is happening their communities and in neighboring communities at all times. There is also a need to encourage and promote stories of success that occur in Indigenous communities, and to celebrate accomplishments. To achieve these goals, participants expressed the need to make more resources available to Indigenous community radio stations.
They felt it would be beneficial to create a “how-to” guide for Indigenous community radio operators, including how to create content that is meaningful for each community. To increase the amount and diversity of content, it would be helpful to have funding to bring in professionals who can provide training on story development, content production, and to pay producers of spoken word radio programs. It is important for these resources to be available in all regions and communities.
Audio Content Creators
Several participants noted that Indigenous radio stations should be encouraged to play a mix of both traditional and modern styles of Indigenous music, not just one genre (such as country music). Each region has an Indigenous music community with highly talented local artists who deserve to be recognized. That being said, one radio station participant suggested (and others agreed) that local artists must also realize the need to demonstrate a level of professionalism in order for their work to be aired on radio -- which points to the need for increased access to artist training and resources (further discussed under “Training”, below).
They also stated that Indigenous music artists need to be more discoverable throughout Canada, in similar ways that non-Indigenous musicians are. As mentioned above, several attendees suggested the need for a universally accessible online catalogue that specifically identifies Indigenous music artists and recordings of their work. This will help to ensure that more Indigenous music is played on commercial radio, which leads to higher recognition and discoverability of Indigenous artists.
“We need more reconciliation efforts from the music industry in Canada, including more airplay on commercial radio.” - Participant
But participants noted that Indigenous artists not only want to be noticed: they also want to be paid. All radio stations in Canada, whether commercial or non-commercial, non-profit/not-for-profit, public, satellite or pay audio services must have a licence from the Copyright Board of Canada to air recorded music. The cost of the licence is based on tariffs paid to collective societies such as SOCAN and Re:SoundFootnote 28, which are then distributed to performers and songwriters as royalties for the use of their musicFootnote 29. While both Type A and B Indigenous radio stations must hold a licence and pay these tariffs, participants noted that SOCAN and Re:Sound also needs to do more by identifying and accurately tracking Indigenous music aired by all broadcasters to ensure that creators are fairly compensated (this includes both established and emerging musicians who recorded their work). Participants felt that both collective organizations should pay special attention to music selections created by Indigenous performers residing in Canada by creating and maintaining a database of their music to ensure they are not left out of the royalty distribution process. (The idea of creating catalogues and databases is discussed below; it applies to audio-visual content, too.)
Participants felt that the CRTC could exert some pressure in this area through regulation, simply by requiring proof that all radio stations have paid the appropriate tariffs at the time of radio licence renewal. They felt the CRTC could also encourage these collective societies to take more pro-active steps to ensure Indigenous music creators are paid royalties on a regular basis.
Several attendees mentioned that artists themselves are equally responsible for ensuring their music is properly registered to collect royalties, although many Indigenous performers and songwriters are unaware of how to do this. For this reason, attendees felt that more education should be made available to Indigenous musicians to understand the process of securing their rights and collecting royalty payments.
Support for Indigenous Artists as Storytellers
It is important to create a model that supports storytellers, to encourage them to work together and not compete amongst each other. This often happens when there are limited funds that must be spread thinly amongst many applicants.
There are many talented Indigenous people who graduate every year from the few programs that do exist, fully trained and ready to be hired. Putting in place the proper supports will give these emerging Indigenous creators the opportunities to contribute their talents. Participants recognized that partnerships with existing Indigenous and non-Indigenous production companies are important to open doors for both established artists and Indigenous youth. The National Screen Institute is doing this nowFootnote 30, but tends to be focused on students in Western Canada. Participants in Atlantic Canada mentioned the need for these kinds of initiatives in their region, and went on to suggest that both a regional radio network and a television service like APTN should be established in Atlantic Canada so Indigenous artists in this region can tell stories from unique perspectives, which are different from Indigenous communities in Western, Central or Northern Canada.
Attendees also noted the importance of providing a variety of platforms for audio-visual artists to share their work locally, regionally, or nationally, to collaborate on films and television projectsFootnote 31.
Support for Indigenous Spoken-Word Content Creators
Participants felt there should be more support for Indigenous journalists and spoken-word programmers who are able to create content focused on the perspectives of their local communities. They noted that currently it is mainly APTN doing this, though it is not regionally-focused enough. This is not a criticism of APTN, as they recognized there are only so many hours in a day or broadcast week, and it would be impossible for APTN to represent every Indigenous community in Canada. They felt this should not be APTN’s role, but something that mainstream broadcasters should be encouraged to support.
One of the ways mainstream broadcasters could provide this support would be to ensure that news stories related to Indigenous communities in their regions are broadcast on their radio and TV stations. This would offer opportunities for regional reporters -- members of local Indigenous communities -- who could create content and submit it to non-Indigenous media outlets, thus giving them a role in mainstream broadcasting. It might also encourage community-based content creators to eventually establish their own community television channel or radio network, if one does not exist; and if it does exist, it would create opportunities for sharing existing programming.
Support for programming that offers opportunities for mental health and well-being
Participants highlighted the connection between broadcasting (both traditional and online platforms) and mental health. They pointed out that Indigenous audiences look to radio and television for entertainment, to relieve stress, and to encourage creativity. Having access to programming that deals with mental health issues can provide support to those trying to overcome obstacles by telling stories about how others have found solutions, and to be a source of inspiration by describing how others have reached their goals.
Working with Youth
Attendees noted the need to provide job opportunities for Indigenous youth in this industry to get them more involved and establish a pool of talent going forward. One suggestion was to offer more opportunities for youth to work on-air on Indigenous radio to showcase their talent, as hosts, news readers, story-tellers or musical performers; there could also be an Elder guiding the process, which would indicate to communities that youth are considered valued contributors.
Other ways to expand youth involvement in broadcasting include:
- School (for example, taking part in broadcasting projects or programs);
- Formal education (for example, courses or programs at colleges or universities);
- In TV, film and radio productions, as interns;
- Through mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities;
- Encouraging content creation (short films, TV shows, radio programs, etc.) using readily-available technology (iPhones, hand-held movie cameras, iPads, etc.);
- On screen, on-air opportunities at local radio and TV stations (hosting, announcing);
- Representing youth on boards of media companies; and
- Encouraging youth to start their own businesses or take on leadership positions in the industry.
Participants pointed out that well-funded training and employment programs would help encourage Indigenous youth to pursue careers in broadcasting. One way to kick-start this is through summer student placements with mainstream broadcasters. This would provide youth with opportunities to learn about producing and distributing their own content; how to use broadcasting equipment; and how to gather and present news stories. Apprenticing at a commercial radio station would allow them to bring their knowledge and new ideas back to their local community radio station. Another way to encourage Indigenous youth is to expand programs like the one offered by Wapikoni MobileFootnote 32, which has fully-equipped mobile studios that travel to Indigenous communities mainly throughout Quebec and run workshops for youth, where they learn how to use digital tools by creating short films and musical works.
In order to relate to Indigenous youth, participants indicated the need to better understand how younger people connect to media, what services and platforms they have access to, and what they like to watch and listen. There is a gap in this knowledge: while there are often studies conducted on these topics targeting young people throughout Canada, they are not focused specifically on the Indigenous youth demographic.
Attendees discussed the need for formal education by Indigenous people working throughout the entire industry. They noted that when someone begins a job working in broadcasting, there needs to be emphasis placed on their career development. Areas where they felt more educational programs are needed include:
- Basic broadcasting skills (e.g., editing, camera work, programming, use of studio equipment, digital production tools);
- New broadcasting technology and standards;
- Techniques and methods used by larger broadcasters, as well as best practices used by smaller radio stations and other broadcasting entities who are successful; and
- General business practices to run a successful broadcasting business, such as project management, insurance, accounting, regulatory and legal compliance, etc.
One suggestion was to create a free Open University (MOOC) course on broadcasting. Another suggestion was to teach courses in high school about radio and other areas of the broadcasting industry. Overall, participants agreed that more education would generate interest amongst Indigenous people, especially youth, so they are encouraged to work in this sector.
Attendees noted that all people working in the Canadian broadcasting industry should be provided educational opportunities to learn about and become more aware of Indigenous protocols, history, traditions, cultural awareness and respect. This type of training should be mandatory, since it is one of the Calls to ActionFootnote 33 in the TRC, related to all businesses.
There is a lack of consistent funding for training programs in the Indigenous broadcasting industry. Participants noted that training is needed for Indigenous people who are already employed at Indigenous community radio stations or in regional screen production businesses, such as:
- DJs and radio hosts, so they can be more knowledgeable about what kind of music to play on air and can continue to maintain a high standard of radio programming specifically targeted to their audience;
- Indigenous music creators, especially emerging artists, so they can refine their talent, and also understand how to navigate through the industry; for example, how to register their music in order to be properly and fairly compensated by the royalty system;
- Indigenous students and youth, so they can learn about the broadcasting industry through hands-on experience, and consider it as a career;
- Indigenous production crews, so they are better-equipped to work on film and TV projects;
- Indigenous community members, who want to volunteer at their local radio or community TV station; and
- Management / operations staff working in Indigenous broadcasting organizations or businesses, so they have a better understanding of legal implications and regulatory and requirements.
Access to ongoing skills development should be designed so that ideally, learning can take place onsite and on-the-job, rather than having to travel great distances to attend courses, which is costly and disruptive to the operation of the station or the business.
“Even when there is interest, we lack the resources to train young people. If they need to travel to the city, this is an extra barrier: it is intimidating and there is fear of the unknown. If they have to go to the city, there needs to be training on how to live in a city and to find resources.” - Participant
Participants commented that often the barrier to success, besides the lack of access to facilities and equipment, is the failure to understand how the newest technology works, how to secure the proper facilities to create content, or what is required from a procedural standpoint (especially legal or regulatory processes). Having some basic knowledge would help to run things more smoothly and would be beneficial for meeting guidelines and requirements.
Spaces for training and production
One way to assist Indigenous creators is to make more production spaces available, especially in smaller towns and cities. A suggestion was made to utilize radio stations that have been set up in schools for hands-on learning or training activities. Participants stated that offering training within the community is important; this way, people don’t need to leave the community to learn new skills (which also means lower training expenses, since travel costs would be eliminated).
Another concept discussed was a purpose-built National Indigenous Arts Centre to provide training in music, film, media, story development, and other forms of creative expression, and act as a production centre for the sector. This centre could be linked to smaller venues for regional post-production work, and for in-person and online training of larger groups using remote video-conferencing or training videos, such as via a YouTube channel. Online training is especially beneficial for training at individual radio stations that are located in remote areas, as long as access to the Internet is available.
Studio space is also needed for musicians; besides having sound studios situated in various regions, it would be ideal to have mobile studios furnished with equipment and staffed by recording technicians that could travel to the artists. These could be used for on-location recording at events such as Indigenous festivals, as well as for recording artists who are unable to afford the cost of travel outside their communities.
Establish an Association to represent Indigenous Broadcasters
Participants noted that in many remote Indigenous communities, the staff (often volunteers) running the local radio station feel isolated. They expressed the need for creating opportunities to interact and collaborate by sharing ideas and information. Even in larger centres, broadcasters and producers often work in isolation, without the benefit of sharing knowledge, ideas, and best practices. Because many Indigenous community radio stations are supported by band and tribal councils, community leaders need to hear success stories from other regions.
Networking between Indigenous broadcasting organizations in other countries is also important; for example, being in contact with Inuit broadcasters based in Greenland, which is a natural collaboration with those based in Nunavut, since they speak the same language; or collaborating with Indigenous broadcasters located in Alaska, or any of the Native-American broadcasters that are close to the Canadian-US border in the south. Some attendees also mentioned that there should be a network established specifically for Métis broadcasters, since there are many cultural differences between the Métis, First Nations peoples, and Inuit.
In addition to the need for networking within the Indigenous broadcast industry itself, attendees felt it was important for Indigenous broadcasters to form a united front to advocate for their needs in the larger broadcasting industry in Canada and with federal, provincial and territorial governments. This approach will eliminate disparities between the way Indigenous broadcasters are treated compared to non-Indigenous broadcasters, and will make Indigenous groups stronger, by collaborating to find solutions. An observation was made that each broadcaster represents a piece of the pie, and together, it makes a whole.
Participants were unanimous in stating that an Indigenous-led and Indigenous-managed broadcasting association should be established that encourages connecting with each other to provide support, advice, cross-training of staff between communities, and that also serves to represent the positions of Indigenous broadcasters in policy-making. To be effective, it would have regional chapters based on location (Western, Central, Eastern and Northern Canada), group (i.e., First Nation, Métis, Inuit), language, and/or broadcasting focus. The CRTC should work with this entity to ensure Indigenous voices are heard, and that important resources including funding are distributed in a fair and equitable manner.
Suggestions from various participants and engagement sessions include:
- Strengthen the collective voice by establishing an association of Indigenous broadcasters to provide a permanent forum;
- Establish regional hubs for broadcasters across the country, since the needs of broadcasters in one area of the country are very different from other areas;
- This association would also welcome the involvement and input of Indigenous content creators, including musicians, spoken word and audio-visual artists, and producers, with the goal of nurturing artists.
- Multiple Indigenous Music Artist of the Year awards could be established by region, genre, and language, chosen by a panel made up of members of this associationFootnote 34.
- Within this organization, establish an Indigenous expert review panel to determine how decisions should be made, for example, on how funding should be distributed;
- The organization would also be responsible for developing and overseeing codes and standards for its own members by creating an Indigenous Ethics BoardFootnote 35, with territorial or regional responsibilities;
- Part of the organization’s role could be to ultimately establish an Indigenous Broadcasting Centre that provided training and education, and to showcase Indigenous broadcasting talent;
- Take responsibility for establishing regionally-based Indigenous radio networks that would offer benefits such as sharing programming content and providing regional technical support;
- Establish guidelines for a new role – Indigenous Cultural Producer – that would be mandated to exist within all mainstream non-Indigenous television and radio broadcasters. For smaller or single-market broadcasters, the association would provide a central pool of Indigenous resources who would offer advice in a wide range of areas, from providing expertise on cultural protocols, to assisting with content selection and offering suggestions for locating and/or hiring Indigenous staff.
Overall, attendees reinforced the notion that Indigenous people should be the ones providing guidance and advice to best represent the needs of their people. However, they also admitted that launching such an organization is a daunting task. Start-up funding is needed to hire permanent, knowledgeable staff; establish the organization and create bylaws; arrange agreements with resources who can provide technical and legal advice to members in different regions; and to organize regular meetings, events, training sessions and conferences. Owing to the low- or non-existent revenue capacity of most Indigenous broadcasters, membership fees would not be enough to sustain such an organization, so ongoing funding from external sources would be required to ensure long-term viability of this association.
As previously stated, catalogues and databases are critical for ensuring that Indigenous and non-Indigenous people know where to find, store and access Indigenous music, film and television programming.
Attendees noted the conspicuous absence of a universally accessible database of Indigenous-created music selections. This is a necessary tool for the use of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous broadcasters so content can be identified and properly attributed to its creators (it is especially important for compensation) and to ensure that mainstream broadcasters are aware of the abundance of Indigenous music.
To ensure equitable representation, participants stated that a database should be developed, possibly integrated with a map, that shows where Indigenous content is being created across Canada so it can be more easily discovered and thus featured by mainstream broadcasters in particular geographic regions. This was a specific suggestion from participants in the Atlantic-based engagement sessions who feel there is not enough representation of this region.
Attendees expressed the need for mechanisms to preserve Indigenous audio and audio-visual content, especially content spoken or sung in Indigenous languages. Archiving and digitizing processes are necessary to capture and preserve this material so it can be studied by future generations, to learn about the history, culture and traditions of the people who came before. It should be retained in spaces that house cultural artefacts, always ensuring that it is readily available to the generations that came after.
Radio and television shows and films house some of the few remaining artefacts of traditional Indigenous languages and dialects. A suggestion was made that whenever cultural or language programs are created by communities (such as language training on radio; or when Elders are interviewed about culture and traditional knowledge; or when traditional music is performed and recorded by a radio station), a copy should also be submitted to a central source for preservation and so it can be easily discoverable and accessible. Participants noted that this is not widely practiced by most Indigenous broadcasters, who need an easy process to retain a copy of recordings. Attendees mentioned that in some Indigenous cultures, traditional knowledge is meant to be shared only amongst the community members, not outside a community. For this reason, it was felt that regulations are needed to address the preservation of archival broadcasting material, including how and where it is stored, how it can be accessed, and to whom it can be made available. Participants requested that this be a topic of discussion included in the new policy.
There is also a need to protect film footage and to repatriate Indigenous stories and knowledge that have been acquired by non-Indigenous people.
Attendees noted that there are barriers to accessing archival film footage and recorded music, either due to complicated retrieval processes, lack of Internet access, or simply being unaware of what is available. Archiving is being done to a limited extent by Library and Archives Canada (including some Indigenous-created music) and to some extent by the National Film BoardFootnote 36, which provides access to its archival materialFootnote 37, although there are few films created in Indigenous languages that are preserved in its collection.
Participants pointed out that various archives have been created for mainstream English- and French-language radio and television broadcasts (for example, by CBC and Library and Archives Canada), but no participants were aware of similar activities or projects focused on Indigenous audio or audio-visual media.
CBC’s role, and working with CBC
Participants noted that CBC North is a good model that could be applied to all CBC television and radio stations, since it makes a point of including local Indigenous stories and news items. However, CBC North should not be the central place for Indigenous programming within Canada’s national broadcaster. Local CBC radio and television stations in the southern areas of Canada need to air more Indigenous content, since there are Indigenous people living throughout Canada (in fact, most live in the south), with a little more than half of all Indigenous People living in urban areas.
Indigenous radio stations serving communities or regions should be given opportunities to share their content with the CBC, and vice versa, especially with CBC’s radio shows such as Unreserved and Reclaimed that focus on Indigenous topics and are of interest to a wide variety of Indigenous communities. Instead, radio broadcasters shared that they often find it difficult to partner or to work with CBC, both in terms of getting access to its content, or making arrangements to share their content with the CBC. They felt that these were examples of how the public broadcaster could demonstrate more inclusive behaviour, and furthermore, felt this type of cooperation was reasonable, seeing that the CBC uses public funds.
Attendees involved in the development of Indigenous television productions spoke about the difficulties they have had convincing CBC to pick up their projects and air them on traditional television. While there are opportunities for showcasing Indigenous content online at CBC Gem, producers pointed out that many Indigenous communities do not have access to broadband services, so often these productions are not available for viewing by Indigenous audiences. Participants also noted that CBC’s approval process for Indigenous content involves going through five different levels before being accepted.
Participants felt that because CBC receives public money to operate, there should be more Indigenous programming on air to reflect Indigenous people, who make up 5% of the population of Canada. For the same reason, in addition to proportionate programming, participants felt the same about employment opportunities: besides increasing Indigenous representation in the CBC’s on-camera and in-studio roles, there is also a need to increase Indigenous representation in management and operational positions. Doing so will ultimately assist in influencing the programming choices and decisions that CBC makes, both on-air and online. If the argument is that there are not enough candidates to fill these roles, then participants suggested creating a full-time internship program within the CBC to train Indigenous individuals interested in working in the broadcasting industry. This would certainly help to build capacity in the organization.
Communities with their own broadcasting policies, infrastructures, funding
In many cases, local Indigenous radio stations are financed and managed by the band or tribal council. Many of these Indigenous communities have already established their own broadcasting policies, infrastructures, and funding mechanisms. Attendees expressed the importance of recognizing communities’ need for self-governance, self-determination, and their work involving the preservation of culture.
“We want to broadcast what we want, not what the CRTC wants.” - Participant
Certain participants expressed the desire to ensure that frequencies are set aside for Indigenous radio stations (similar to what has been done for Indigenous broadcasters in other countries) and to ensure there are opportunities to establish regional television stations or networks that specifically serve Indigenous communitiesFootnote 38.
Support for both a radio and a television network dedicated to programming for Inuit listeners and viewers was noted repeatedly, but especially by participants during the session in Iqaluit. Additional funding for the broadcasting sector in Nunavut aimed at employment, training, technical resources and partnerships will create opportunities for content development which can then be aired and promoted, locally, territorially, nation-wide and globally, where there is great interest in sharing programming from other circumpolar regions, especially Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Some participants noted that the ideal scenario would be for Indigenous Peoples to develop their own policies and be regulated by their own independent body, not by the CRTC. This would include sovereignty over radio frequencies, broadcasting in their own languages, and making decisions about their own content, instead of being governed by colonial-oriented regulations that often do not apply to the Indigenous community. On the other hand, there were participants who observed that in some cases where radio stations are funded by their band or tribal council, station managers do not necessarily have programming independence, i.e., they are advised by their community leadership what content they will or will not air. In these cases, care must be taken to ensure that programming reflects what the community needs and wants.
“There are some community stations that don’t want to be regulated in our own lands.” - Participant
All participants at every Engagement Session noted the severe lack of funding that is evident in every element of the Indigenous broadcasting industry. Many of the issues identified above could be remedied through additional sustainable funding, whether it involves encouraging new initiatives, creating new human resource opportunities, building capacity in Indigenous communities, covering technology costs, or revitalizing established institutions that have been overlooked for decades. As one participant said, “issues can be resolved when funding meets opportunities”.
Participants felt strongly that the CRTC needs to review the funding models it has control over, but must also be aware of other funding options from other government departments, because overall, the current models and methods of funding, has become a complicated and confusing jumble that is not working for either Indigenous broadcasters or content creators. For example, attendees reflected on how CRTC regulations require commercial broadcasters to contribute a percentage of their revenues towards funds or contributions (e.g. annual amounts that large and medium-sized commercial broadcasters must direct to improve the broadcasting industry), yet the CRTC does not directly allocate or administer these funds. Participants felt that new policies are needed to establish or increase the funding that is available specifically for Indigenous content development, such as funds allocated through the Canada Media Fund, Telefilm, FACTOR, etc. Participants said they wanted to see this clearly highlighted as an area where policy needs to change.
The greatest concern that attendees expressed was loss of traditional cultures owing to the scarcity of radio and television programming that showcases Indigenous cultures, perspectives and languages, despite alternate ways of disseminating traditional culture and language, largely through word of mouth or written archives. Radio, television and online broadcasting are by far the most popular means of distributing and sharing culture with the greatest number of recipients, but it is expensive to do so. This problem can only be solved by increased funding, which, when compared to the levels of funding provided for English and French content development, should be much higher, proportionally, than it is now. Overall, participants noted that any new funding mechanisms that are created must be done in a way that ensures they will still be available for access by future generations.
There should be sufficient funding mechanisms specifically for:
- Indigenous radio broadcasters, especially stations in remote regions, to be used for infrastructure implementation, maintenance and technology upgrades;
- Implementation of broadband services, which will allow for online content distribution methods such as on-demand access and content streaming;
- Financial support of Indigenous music and spoken word content creators, including having access to the technical, training and management resources they need to become successful;
- Increasing the amount of Indigenous language programming on both radio and television;
- Emerging Indigenous audio-visual artists, to assist with content development, including pitching stories for television, feature film and documentary production;
- Creating databases for audio and audio-visual content that will help in discoverability; and of trained Indigenous personnel who are willing and able to work on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous productions;
- Start-up financing to establish a national Indigenous broadcasting association with regional chapters;
- Communication and outreach, to encourage networking and collaboration opportunities to make a national association successful;
- Establishing physical spaces for studios, production development and training facilities;
- Creating training and education programs, and for scholarships that are targeted to Indigenous youth;
- A separate fund to create employment and upgrade training opportunities. Currently there is little or no funding available for apprenticeships, internships, mentorships or technical training that targets Indigenous peoples in the broadcasting sector;
- Promotion and marketing of content created by Indigenous people;
- Establishing Indigenous Cultural Advisor or Expert positions to ensure accurate and respectful representation of Indigenous people and cultures in mainstream broadcast media, and to provide expertise on cultural protocols, hiring practices;
- Broadcasting in the North, which has unique needs for broadcasting infrastructure;
- Specific funding designed for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit broadcasters and content developers, since the needs of these groups are different. Discussions with Indigenous broadcasters and producers will provide more insight.
Participants also noted that funding should be:
- Readily and easily available to smaller Indigenous community radio stations;
- Designed to factor in growth to allow established broadcasters to expand, but also to ensure that new broadcasters can receive funding, too;
- Predictable and reliable, and not project-based;
- Long-term, so there is enough funding provided to allow broadcasters, production firms and creators to become self-sufficient.
Improve the Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting (NAB) fund
At every session, participants stressed the need for operational funding that is automatically renewable over multiple years, instead of having to apply every year; for example, they felt that the Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting (NAB) programFootnote 39 offered by the federal government through the Department of Canadian Heritage should provide funding over longer periods of time to ensure completion of larger projects. While most participants were aware that the NAB program is not under the control of the CRTC, they nevertheless felt it was important to highlight a number of associated issues and deficiencies that have existed for decades, mainly because many of its recipients have come to depend on it; yet, many other applicants have been unsuccessful in accessing this funding, even after numerous attempts. Those who do receive benefits from this program felt that the funding needs to be approved and disbursed much faster, as it is often confirmed too late -- well after the funds are needed -- which then jeopardizes projects that organizations are trying to initiate. As a result, organizations must go into debt to cover expenses; however, credit is often not extended as readily to Indigenous organizations.
“We are told that if we continue our operations, it is at our own risk while we wait for funding letters and agreements. It feels like we are being set up for failure.” - Participant
There are many broadcasters who are eligible to apply to the Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting (NAB) fund but each year they learn that the funding has been depleted since it was already awarded to previous recipients (who seem to be the same ones every year). It was also noted that overall, funding has remained the same (approximately $8M each year) with no increase even after 30 years. Participants felt strongly that this program is in need of immediate review, otherwise many Indigenous radio stations could fail.
The funding from this program has been awarded to both Indigenous radio broadcasters and to broadcasting content creators. The number of entities in both categories has increased substantially over the past 30 years. Participants felt that in some cases, government funding has caused unwarranted competition amongst Indigenous broadcasters. While there may be opportunities to share funding between Northern communities in Canada, including for standalone projects, funding programs should not be so small that it leads to dividing up a very small pot amongst many Indigenous broadcasting services; it should be expanded, so that it includes stable funding to both small- and medium-sized radio broadcasters, as well as to Indigenous producers so they can create more Indigenous television programming.
They also noted the need to establish more Indigenous radio stations throughout the country. However, without increasing the amount of funding, and maintaining the requirement that only broadcasters providing service north of the Hamelin Line (the 55th parallel, which, for the purposes of Canadian Heritage’s policy, defines the Canadian North) can apply, Indigenous broadcasting will remain in a perpetual state of poverty; “always managing on a shoestring”, as several attendees described it.
Establish an Indigenous Content Development contribution mechanism
Attendees were unanimous in stating their concerns over the small amount of funding available to create content for radio broadcasting. To encourage the development of content, they recommended establishing mandatory “Indigenous Content Creation” contributions that must be made by commercial broadcasters. They felt it would be particularly important to confirm that Indigenous talent truly was involved during the development process. By doing so, Indigenous people will be encouraged to lead the development of music projects and ensure they have over-arching creative control, to avoid being over-ruled by non-Indigenous production entities.
Ensure funding through Tangible Benefits
Attendees noted that tangible benefit contributions (i.e., funding that is made when ownership transactions take place) are rarely directed towards Indigenous content or other Indigenous broadcasting initiatives. This prevents the ability to create jobs for Indigenous creators, to create Indigenous-led programming and projects, or for providing Indigenous content that can be aired by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous broadcasters. Instead of encouraging broadcasters to contribute through Canadian content development initiatives, participants suggested that it would be better to create a new contribution mechanism for Indigenous-only initiatives: “Indigenous content development”. Whatever funding is made available, it needs to be stable and long-term so that programs or other initiatives can be maintained to keep the momentum going. Instead of encouraging “project-based” funding, participants unanimously agreed that the Indigenous sector needs ongoing funding.
Create a database of funding sources
Participants recommended that a list of funding sources be itemized and kept current in a database that can be easily accessed by Indigenous broadcasters and content creators so they can be more aware of the opportunities that exist. There is also a need to assist content creators with the grant submission process, including proposal writing and application requirements, and to help them navigate the system, which feels to many like “inside baseball”, i.e., well-understood only by experts or those in the know.
Some attendees felt that the Canada Media Fund requires far too many hoops to go through when applying for funding for Indigenous projects. Participants mentioned other challenges, such as not being able to access funds unless other financing has been secured. They noted it would be less complicated if restrictions for financing were eased as part of the requirement to request funding.
They also stated that it would be beneficial to create discretionary funds for broadcasters and creators (for both audio and audio-visual projects and content development), where the mechanism would be set up by an independent organization (like the CRTC), but would be administered by, or in conjunction with, Indigenous people.
Provide financial support for languages and culture
Attendees noted the need for increased financial support to create culturally relevant Indigenous programs for broadcast on radio and television, and to continue to offer regular language training, particularly on radio, which is an excellent way to preserve Indigenous languages. When listeners, especially younger audience members, can hear their traditional language spoken correctly by an Elder, they learn proper pronunciation and usage, which in turn results in greater respect for the language.
Attendees felt that sustained support for language programming is required, and funding should come from both federal and provincial governments. Participants remarked that despite the small amount of financial assistance available, there are still radio stations that successfully provide this kind of programming because it is offered by volunteers. Attendees also identified a need to provide funds for Elders, who share their knowledge of traditional languages, but must often volunteer their time and expertise because there are no funds to compensate them. Participants expressed worry over the decreasing number of traditional language speakers and community members who can offer cultural training.
“Lack of funding limits the older (more experienced) language speakers to come on air as paid specialists to speak to the community in their language. “- Participant
Provide funding and other support from Provinces and Territories
Participants noted that there is little provincial or territorial funding available; it is mostly at the federal level. However, there are many Indigenous creators who attempt to develop content that is very specific to reserves or communities within provinces and territories, yet it is difficult to secure funds and to get buy-in from local or provincial / territorial governments. For example, one attendee mentioned that in Quebec, certain community radio stations are eligible to receive some basic annual funding from the provincial government, but this may not apply to Indigenous radio stations, or only at much reduced levels.
Participants also mentioned the need for tax credits in regions where these are not yet available, and they suggested how helpful it would be if the federal government or the CRTC could step in to review this. Specifically, if there were territorial tax credits in all three territories, it would be beneficial to filmmakers working in the North. The importance of not having to give up creative control over their work, just to access/receive a tax credit, was also mentioned.
Attendees noted differences in the treatment of gaming and gambling revenues by various provinces and territories. This is important to point out because a common source of revenue for Indigenous radio stations is to run popular bingo games, where numbers are called out over the radio to community members who buy bingo cards from the radio station. However, this method of fund-raising can be problematic in some provinces; for example, in Quebec, bingo games can only take place on reserves provided they have been licensed and authorized by the provincial gaming regulator, and there are other restrictions depending on the prize value and the frequency of holding these events.
Level the funding playing field
Attendees voiced the need for a mechanism to secure funding through contributions from commercial radio broadcasters, as is the case now with Canadian Content Development. This would then preclude having to compete with non-Indigenous entities for funding. There needs to be a more level playing field, and Indigenous broadcasters and content creators need to have a seat at the funding table.
Throughout the Engagement Sessions, attendees identified that infrastructure funding is needed to get broadcasting services into all remote communities, especially the smallest ones. One participant stated that it felt like funding for the Indigenous broadcasting industry in this country is far too meagre, and sadly, perhaps even intentionally designed that way. Some participants suggested that funding for broadcasting should be distributed across the board to each community, rather than being grant- or contribution-based, through an application process. Funding that is provided in a non-competitive way would allow collaboration between communities, so they could complement each other.
As the government is contemplating new legislation, the concept of public broadcasting to serve the Indigenous community needs to be considered. While APTN offers a national Indigenous broadcasting service, it does not receive government funding for operations, but generates revenue through subscriber fees, advertising sales and strategic partnerships, and it also receives mandatory distributionFootnote 40. Some participants suggested that perhaps APTN ought to be publicly funded, in a way that is similar to the CBC.
CRTC and the new Indigenous broadcasting policy
Indigenous representation and awareness within the CRTC
Attendees stressed how important it is to increase the number of Indigenous people working in the CRTC, more specifically in senior management roles. This addition will give perspective since government organizations should reflect Indigenous communities’ needs, especially in more remote regions.
Participants felt that it is important for CRTC staff to take cultural awareness training. The organization should learn more about Indigenous culture. Participants also felt that staff should be more accessible, for example, to answer questions about processes, and explain what is required on forms, since they are filled with legal jargon and people running the station lack access to legal resources. It would be helpful to have a point of contact at the CRTC to help explain procedures, terminology and how to correctly submit reports.
They also noted that the CRTC should have an Indigenous Committee or Working Group made up of representatives from the Indigenous broadcasting industry, which meets regularly (ideally, on a yearly basis) with CRTC staff to help improve lines of communication and act as advisors. This could be organized in a similar way to the OLMC (official language minority community) meetings that already take place, but would be different in one significant way: rather than one working group, participants stressed the need for the CRTC to set up regional committees or working groups because of the distinct needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; and the different needs in geographic regions.
Participants unanimously agreed there was a need for the CRTC and the Department of Canadian Heritage to work more closely together when it came to fixing the funding situation in the broadcasting industry. Many attendees did not understand the relationship between the two organizations, nor did they realize that the two organizations operated separately from each other and did not understand why.
Participants noted that a more open and trusting relationship with the CRTC is needed. Many said they were fearful of, and are over-regulated by this entity. They felt the role between the CRTC and Indigenous broadcasters needs to be better defined. They remarked on the need for a less intimidating relationship. For this to happen, participants suggested that the CRTC work more closely with Indigenous broadcasters to ensure issues are dealt with, questions are answered, and ideas are considered. To understand what audiences want, participants suggested that the CRTC should visit communities on a regular basis. They also noted that the CRTC should:
- Be transparent;
- Have faster processes;
- Simplify its processes;
- Be more informative (there is not enough information provided to explain how broadcasting regulations work, to Indigenous broadcasters or content creators);
- Provide workshops and information sessions;
- Be more open-minded about what Indigenous People want to see in terms of programming offered by mainstream broadcasters, wherever and whenever (i.e., including in prime-time periods);
- Be more flexible with policies; and
- Have better and clearer communication with the Indigenous broadcasting community.
Role of the CRTC
Participants felt that the role of the CRTC should be to:
- Advocate; the CRTC needs to exert pressure on non-Indigenous production companies and broadcasters so they will pay more attention to funding Indigenous projects;
- Develop policies that support Indigenous communities;
- Reach out to, and inform Indigenous audiences so they have a better understanding about the industry, and what is at stake;
- Regulate to ensure that Indigenous content exists throughout the industry;
- Act as a catalyst to support Indigenous efforts. With a well-developed policy in place, the CRTC will help Indigenous musicians, spoken word programmers, television and film producers, and all of the people that support these entities, get to the next level; and
- Provide opportunities for growth and self-sustainability of the Indigenous broadcasting sector, just as regulation has created opportunities for the English- and French-language segments of the industry.
What a new policy should look like
The new Indigenous broadcasting policy should benefit ALL Indigenous Peoples. It needs to be detailed, regularly reviewed, and inclusive. It should address different platforms: traditional radio, television, and online services, as well as music, spoken word and audio-visual content (film and TV) including programming content available on social media. Once the policy is completed, it should be:
- Easy to read and understand, written not only in English and French but in at least some Indigenous languages;
- Summarized, so it can be more easily understood;
- Comprehensive, in that it addresses access (radio, TV, online) and Indigenous content (music, spoken word, film, TV shows, documentaries, etc.) offered not only by Indigenous broadcasters but also by mainstream broadcasters;
- Respectful of Indigenous peoples; and
- Reviewed and updated regularly.
The new policy should be made available to everyone involved so they know it exists; this includes making sure it is distributed to communities. Participants noted that the policy should be flexible enough that it can be used by organizations such as bands and tribal councils, but adapt it to their own needs and capacities.
Changes to mainstream broadcasting policies
Canada’s Broadcasting Act needs to be reviewed so that Indigenous people, their stories, and their music are seen and heard. Policies need to change to better reflect Indigenous people, and to consciously acknowledge the Indigenous presence in CanadaFootnote 41. Outdated policies need to be identified and eliminated.
It is important to highlight the role major broadcasters play in supporting Indigenous content. The requirement to include a percentage of Indigenous-created programming should be included in mainstream broadcasting policies. It was felt that mainstream broadcasters believe that Indigenous content is not good enough or else they claim that they cannot find sufficient high quality Indigenous-created content to air on their stations or networks. In fact, there is a great deal of excellent Indigenous television content and music available. Indigenous producers continue to approach the large broadcasters with proposals for content or with fully completed, ready-to-air projects, but they are often ignored or re-directed to APTN. Participants stressed that this attitude towards Indigenous programming needs to change and must be addressed not just in the new Indigenous policy, but in all other existing broadcasting policies.
Include obligations from the UNDRIP, TRC and other framework documents in the new policy
It was noted that in 1982 the federal government stated that Indigenous rights were protected (section 35 of the Canadian Constitution), including the Indigenous right to self-determination and self-government. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) was released in 1996. In 2007, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was introduced and in 2016, the federal government announced that it had adopted the recommendations in the UNDRIP. In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report was issued which listed 94 Calls to Action. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report was issued in 2019 and contains 231 Calls for Justice. There are recommendations and directives in these reports related to media and broadcasting, and to the education of non-Indigenous management and staff of all businesses on the history of Indigenous peoples. Attendees expressed the importance of studying the obligations in these framework documents and taking the opportunity to include the broadcasting-related obligations when creating the new Indigenous broadcasting policy.
It would be helpful for the CRTC to reinforce the need for mainstream broadcasters to make a commitment to Indigenous Peoples based on these framework documents.
“You can’t fix a flat tire by yelling at it; you need to change the tire.” - Participant
- Session 1 – Quebec
DATE: June 28, 2019
LOCATION: Crowne Plaza, 2 rue Montcalm, Gatineau, Quebec
- Session 2 – Manitoba
DATE: June 24-25, 2019
LOCATION: Best Western Plus Airport, 1715 Wellington Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Session 3 – Quebec
DATE: September 30, 2019
LOCATION: Host Hotel, 1860 Quebec route 132, Kahnawake, Quebec
- Session 4 – Alberta
DATE: October 17-18, 2019
LOCATION: River Cree Resort, 300 East Lapotac Blvd, Edmonton, Alberta
- Session 5 – Ontario
DATE: October 24, 2019 (am)
LOCATION: Blue Room (3rd floor), TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street, Toronto, Ontario
DATE: October 24, 2019 (pm)
LOCATION: Pier 9 Rm (2nd floor) Westin Harbour Castle, 1 Harbour Square, Toronto, Ontario
- Session 6 – Nunavut
DATE: November 15, 2019
LOCATION: Frobisher Inn, Astro Hill, Iqaluit, Nunavut
- Session 7 – Yukon
DATE: November 27, 2019
LOCATION: Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, 1171 Front Street, Whitehorse, Yukon
- Session 8 – Maritimes
DATE: January 23, 2020
LOCATION: Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, 2158 Gottingen St., Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Session 9 – British Columbia
DATE: February 7, 2020
LOCATION: Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, 1607 Hastings St. Vancouver, BC
- Session 10 – Western Teleconference
DATE: January 27, 2020
LOCATION: Western Teleconference
- Session 11 – Eastern Teleconference
DATE: January 30, 2020
LOCATION: Eastern Teleconference
- Session 12 – French Teleconference
DATE: February 4, 2020
LOCATION: Francophone National Teleconference
Attendees (by Organization / Industry):
- 899 KIC Country
- Adam Beach Film Festival
- Arrow Radio 93.5
- Artist Independent
- Ayik Radio/Station Manager
- Capilano University
- Department of Communities Culture and Heritage- Province of Nova Scotia
- CFA Law
- CJUC Radio
- CKIQ/CKGC Northern Lights Entertainment
- CKKI KIC Country
- CKRK-FM K1037
- Dakota Tipi First Nation
- Dene Tha First Nation
- Eagle Vision
- Fort McKay First Nation
- Grass Fire Productions
- Great Pacific Media
- Greasy Bannock Theatre Production
- Hamlet of Ulukhaktok
- Hawk Radio
- IM4 Media Lab
- Independent Filmmaker
- Independent Journalist/writer
- Indigenous Filmmakers Association
- Indigenous Screen Office
- Inuit Broadcasting Corp.
- Inuit Broadcasting Corporation
- Inuvialuit Communications Society
- Isuma TV
- James Bay Cree Communication Society
- Jim Pattison Broadcast
- Kassiwi Media
- Koda Cree
- Lichen Consulting
- Manitoba Music
- Maskwacis Hawk Radio
- Membertou First Nation
- Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation
- Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation
- Music Yukon
- Musique Nomade
- Naskapi Development Corporation Kawawachikamach
- Naskapi Northern Wind Radio 89.9 Kawawachikamach
- Native Communications Inc.
- NCS/CKLB Radio
- Nunavut Film Development Corporation
- Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon
- Nuxalk Radio
- Ogichidaa Arts
- Performing Artist
- Potlotek Communications
- Province of Manitoba
- Radio Papanasi Unamen-shipu
- Red Marrow Media
- Rezolution Pictures Int’l Inc.
- Sagkeeng Wolf FM
- Sakihiwe Festival
- Samson Cree Nation Hawk Radio
- Sandy Bay First Nation
- Savvy Unltd.
- Shubie- FM- Radio (TV)
- Société de communication Atikamekw – Montagnais
- Stone Cold Production
- Taiwan Indigenous TV
- Taqqut Productions
- Taqramiut Nipingat Inc.
- Telefilm Canada
- Telus Original Content and Storyhive
- Twin Flames Music
- Tribe Music
- Union of British Columbia Performers
- Métis National BC
- Waskaganish Sibi Ayimuweyabi
- Wemindji Telecommunications Association
- Windspeaker Radio
- Winnipeg Music Project/Manitoba Music
- Wone Woman Works Ltd.
- Writer / Director
- Date modified: